Obama�s dwindling band of true believers has taken heart
that their man has finally delivered on one of his many promises -- the closing
of the Guantanamo
prison. But the prison is not being closed. It is being moved to Illinois, if
the Republicans permit.
In truth, Obama has handed his supporters another defeat.
Closing Guantanamo meant ceasing to hold people in violation of our legal
principles of habeas corpus and due process and ceasing to torture them in
violation of US and international laws.
All Obama would be doing would be moving 100 people, against
whom the US government is unable to bring a case, from the prison in Guantanamo
to a prison in Thomson, Illinois.
Are the residents of Thomson despondent that the US
government has chosen their town as the site on which to continue its blatant
violation of US legal principles? No, the residents are happy. It means jobs.
The hapless prisoners had a better chance of obtaining
release from Guantanamo. Now the prisoners are up against two US senators, a US
representative, a mayor, and a state governor who have a vested interest in the
prisoners� permanent detention in order to protect the new prison jobs in the
hamlet devastated by unemployment.
Neither the public nor the media have ever shown any
interest in how the detainees came to be incarcerated. Most of the detainees
were unprotected people who were captured by Afghan warlords and sold to the
Americans as �terrorists� in
order to collect a proffered bounty. It was enough for the public and the media
that the defense secretary at the time, Donald Rumsfeld,
declared the Guantanamo detainees to be the �780 most dangerous people on earth.�
The vast majority have been released after years of abuse.
The 100 who are slated to be removed to Illinois have apparently been so badly
abused that the US government is afraid to release them because of the
testimony the prisoners could give to human rights organizations and foreign
media about their mistreatment.
Our British allies are showing more moral conscience than
Americans are able to muster. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who provided
cover for President Bush�s illegal invasion of Iraq, is being damned for his
crimes by UK officialdom testifying before the Chilcot Inquiry.
The London Times on December 14 summed up the case
against Blair in a headline: Intoxicated by Power, Blair Tricked Us Into
War. Two days later
the British First Post declared, �War Crime Case Against Tony Blair Now
Rock-solid.� In an unguarded moment Blair let it slip that he
favored a conspiracy for war regardless of the validity of the excuse (weapons
of mass destruction) used to justify the invasion.
The movement to bring Blair to trial as a war criminal is
gathering steam. Writing in the First Post Neil Clark reported: �There is widespread contempt for a man [Blair] who has made millions [his
reward from the Bush regime] while
Iraqis die in their hundreds of thousands due to the havoc unleashed by the
illegal invasion, and who, with breathtaking arrogance, seems to regard himself
as above the rules of international law.� Clark notes that the West�s
practice of shipping Serbian and African leaders off to the War Crimes
Tribunal, while exempting itself, is wearing thin.
In the US, of course, there is no such attempt to hold to
account Bush, Cheney, Condi Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and the large number of
war criminals that comprised the Bush Regime. Indeed, Obama, whom Republicans
love to hate, has gone out of his way to protect Bush and his cohorts from
being held accountable.
Here in Great Moral America we only hold accountable
celebrities and politicians for their sexual indiscretions. Tiger Woods is
paying a bigger price for his girlfriends than Bush or Cheney will ever pay for
the deaths and ruined lives of millions of people. The consulting company, Accenture
Plc, which based its marketing program on Tiger Woods, has removed Woods
from its Web site. Gillette announced that the company is dropping Woods from
its print and broadcast ads. AT&T says it is re-evaluating the company�s
relationship with Woods.
Apparently, Americans regard sexual infidelity as far more
serious than invading countries on the basis of false charges and deception,
invasions that have caused the deaths and displacement of millions of innocent
people. Remember, the House impeached President Clinton not for his war crimes in Serbia,
but for lying about his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
Americans are more upset by Tiger Woods� sexual affairs than
they are by the Bush and Obama administrations� destruction of US civil liberties.
Americans don�t seem to mind that �their�
government for the last eight years has resorted to the detention practices of
1,000 years ago -- simply grab a person and throw him into a dungeon forever
without bringing charges and obtaining a conviction.
According to polls, Americans support torture, a violation
of both US and international law, and Americans don�t mind that their
government violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and spies on them
without obtaining warrants from a court. Apparently, the brave citizens of the �sole remaining superpower� are so
afraid of terrorists that they are content to give up liberty for safety, an
With stunning insouciance, Americans have given up the rule
of law that protected their liberty. The silence of law schools and bar
associations indicates that the age of liberty has passed. In short, the
American people support tyranny. And that�s where they are headed.
Craig Roberts [email
him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President
Reagan�s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has
held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair,
Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University,
and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was
awarded the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Mitterrand. He is the
author of Supply-Side
Revolution : An Insider�s Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation
and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown:
Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M.
Stratton of The
Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the
Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for
Peter Brimelow�s Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent
epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.